Mayor walks back plan to strengthen mask mandate, but seeks other restrictions

Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he is reconsidering his proposal to strengthen Oahu’s mask mandate, but is still seeking restrictions on bars and social gatherings.

He said his proposal to close bars for three weeks is under review by the governor.

Caldwell said the shutdown would allow the Honolulu Liquor Commission and city to come up with a plan to better police bars and ensure they’re following COVID-19 guidelines.

Meanwhile, the mayor is also in talks with the state to crack down on large gatherings at beaches and parks. He said one suggestion is to ban tents on beaches.

And he wants to mandate that restaurants stop all alcohol service by 10 p.m.

The state reported 109 new COVID-19 cases statewide Wednesday, 98 of which were on Oahu. That’s a new single-day record and the first time the state has hit three digits in a day.

On Tuesday, a frustrated Caldwell said he would seek to broaden the mask mandate to make them required not only indoors at businesses but at all times when you’re outdoors.

Under the current rules, you have to wear one if you can’t socially distance.

But a day later, Caldwell conceded his attempt to create a “bright line” for people went too far. He said his advisory panel told him there was no medical reason to require masks at all times outdoors.

The mayor also sought to prepare Oahu for more bad news ahead.

“My guess is we’re going to see more cases tomorrow than we see today,” he said. “We’ll continue to try to take a more focused way to step back.”

This story will be updated.

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